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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Diane Potts supervises 11 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Diane Potts


Diane Potts


Tel: +44 1524 592434

Research overview

Digital literacies and language learning; teaching English as an additional language; multilingualism in mainstream classrooms; multimodality; social semiotics; knowledge mobilization/transfer

Current Teaching

LING 410 (Hong Kong cohort) - Trends and Issues in English Language Teaching |Methodology

LING 410 (TESOL on-line) - Trends and Issues in English Language Teaching Methodology

As a lecturer, I have previously taught courses on applied linguistics for teachers, teaching methodologies for additional language learners (EAL, EFL, ESL), intercultural communication and language socialization in multicultural contexts, and language maintenance and the integration of immigrants in Canada.

Research Interests

I am excited by the prospect of working with international students and others in all areas pertaining to digital language learning, digital literacies, and computer-mediated communication.This may include ethnographic studies of highly diverse student populations in digitally mediated environments, case studies of digital/multimodal pedagogies in English as an additional language (EAL) or foreign language (EFL) classrooms, or studies of digitally-mediated task-based learning. Alternatively, prospective postgraduate students may be interested in exploring language learners' out-of-school digital literacies practices, particularly their dis/connections to formal educational contexts. These studies might be conducted in richly resourced contexts (ex. where bandwidth and/or electricity are not issues, and where a range of digital devices are available), or they might be conducted in contexts where necessity is driving innovations in the use of mobile technologies. The same topics could be explored from the perspective of teacher education and development. There are an ever-shifting range of ethical issues, conceptual issues, and practical issues that need addressing, ideally by researchers who reflect the diversity of the English language learning and teaching community, and I will be delighted to receive applications from students who bring a range of experiences to their doctoral studies.

Equally, I invite proposals from students with interests in multimodality, particularly those working within a social semiotic frame. Again, these proposals may address the needs of language learners,and might connect to any of the following: the the reweighting of meaning across semiotic systems and the increasing need for EAL/ESL/EFL pedagogies to address students' visual literacies; the potential of multimodal practices and/or tasks in language development; and curricular challenges and demands related to such pedagogies. Alternatively, students may design studies which focus on texts (in the broadest sense) rather than learners and/or educators, and explore the place of these texts within situated practice(s).

A third area of possible study is research in highly diverse classrooms, and explorations of pedagogies which draw on students' multilingual resources to further their academic success. Such research might attempt to deepen our understanding of the ways in which students' multilingualism could contribute to perspective-taking, abstract reasoning, and/or creativity. Research in this area might also be designed to help us to understand how multilingual learners come to understand themselves as resourced and/or disadvantaged by the relationship between their home language(s), English and (potentially) their additional languages.

Finally, I will always welcome proposals froms students who wish to research content-based language teaching in any of its multiple forms (ex. CBLT, CLIL). This may include work with immigrant and/or refugee populations in English dominant countries; studies in EFL contexts where core subjects in primary and/or secondary school are taught in English; research in contexts where English is an official language but where significant numbers speak other home languages; investigations of EAP pedagogies in post-secondary and/or professional contexts; or explorations of content-based designs outside mainstream educational contexts. Research in this area might focus on a specfic group of learners, a disciplinary context, teacher training and development, or policies and practices. Again, I am particularly interested in those adopting a social semiotic/SFL frame as well as those whose specific research questions might address issues of register, or who wish to delve into grammatics.

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